Blog > 5 facts about Generation Z and why retailers shouldn’t ignore them

5 facts about Generation Z and why retailers shouldn’t ignore them

Just when retailers started to get their heads around Generation Y – Millennials; their younger, more demanding and ‘digitally native’ younger siblings have arrived, and they’re set to be the biggest buying demographic yet, with the Generation Z set to contribute to 2.6 billion of the population by 2020 as reported by an IBM study.

Who are Generation Z?

Also known as Centennials or iGen, Gen Z is the first generation that can’t remember a time without technology.

Born after 1995, and spending more of their free time online than any generation before them. They are the most educated and connected generation, having anything they desire at the click of a button. However their outlook on spending is different to their parents and grandparents.

Unlike Millennials, Gen Z prefer bricks-and-mortar stores.

Although they are the most digitally advanced generation, they’d rather shop in store than online. The IBM study revealed that out of the 15,000 participants of the survey, conducted across 13 countries, 63% always shopped in-store, and 31% sharing that they sometimes shopped in-store. Therefore 94% of the participants were visiting physical retailers.

Seeing shopping as more of a social activity than a task, Gen Z tend to spend more time physically shopping with friends and family. Hence retailers need to focus on creating the in-store experience that will meet the demand for fun and immersive shopping.

But that doesn’t mean retailers can sit back and relax.

They want an experience

Gen Z may prefer shopping in-store, but you’ve got to get them there.

Gen Z have high expectations that have to be met if retailers want to keep ahead of the game. They want an experience and if you don’t give it to them, someone else will.

They want technology, interactivity and personalisation. They want to know what a piece of jewellery will look like on them without having to try it on. If the experience you’re offering to them isn’t cutting it, they’ll already be online looking at your competitors.

With most of the Gen Z growing up in the recession, they are warier with their money and have developed an attitude that the value is no longer in the product or the brand name, but in the experience that they gain from it.

Gen Z would rather buy into a brand with good ethics

One of the most defining attributes of Gen Z is they’re the most diverse and accepting generation of our time, and all of them want to change the world. 76% of surveyed contributors stated that they are concerned about human impact on the planet. They hold strong values, with a higher number of young people volunteering to gain work experience and they want to buy from brands that share their values and that are moving with the times.

A good example of this is when Maybelline, the beauty brand, launched a campaign that would challenge gender norms and homophobia. The campaign featured a male model for their promotion of their newest mascara; the campaign spread like wildfire with their audience and saw them reach their highest levels of online interaction. In a generation where transgender rights, same-sex marriage and not forcing gender roles is a normative, to Gen Z these values are among some of the many things they expect the brand they’re buying from to accept.

Gen Z strongly influence their parents purchases

A survey conducted by HRC Retail Advisory reported that an astounding 82% of parents admitted to allowing their children to influence their purchases, based on their digital ability to find and compare prices, research the company values, see reviews and research quality within seconds; something their parents aren’t as quick to do.

So why shouldn’t retailers ignore them?

Although Gen Z are only just coming of age, by 2020 they are set to be the largest consumer group worldwide; along with having a higher amount of buying power themselves, retailers should prepare for Gen Z based on their ability to influence and lead all other shopper age groups online and in-store.

Compared to Millennials, Gen Z show less brand loyalty, they want the brand to work for their custom and will easily move to another retailer where they feel more appreciated and being catered for.

And finally, they see through marketing campaigns, and whatever you’re offering they can find cheaper deals elsewhere. They don’t want to be given false promises or a small discount, they want a brand to share their values and make a stand, with 85% of teens sharing that they would be more likely to purchase from a brand that supports social issues.